Feed Your Brain: Is Your Diet Making You Dumb?

The human body is exceedingly receptive to your diet. From your eyesight to your energy, from your weight to your motor skills, what you eat affects all facets of your body. A healthy diet can give you energy, help develop lean muscle, and enhance your sex life. Conversely, a poor diet can have an ill effect on your bodily functions.

Just as the rest of your body is influenced by your diet, the brain is no exception. An extremely metabolically driven muscle, the brain constantly needs to be fed…and fed well. Recent research has demonstrated that proper diet can benefit memory, boost mood, relieve stress, enhance sensorimotor skills, and maybe even improve IQ.

Breakfast Benefits

Mom always said that a healthy breakfast would help us in school, but did you ever think she had it right? Recent research has confirmed the theory that eating breakfast really does help us learn. Glucose, or blood sugar, is essential to our brain’s function. Without breakfast, our body’s blood sugar level lowers resulting in lowered brain function. People may experience mild disorientation, difficulty comprehending directions, and experience trouble understanding new information.

While having breakfast is important, there is fare that can be as detrimental as eating nothing at all. Overly sugary cereals have an exceedingly high glycemic index (GI). The GI is the speed in which carbohydrates are absorbed into the blood stream. The higher the glycemic index, the faster it is absorbed The faster the glucose enters the blood stream, the shorter you get to experience its benefits. Thus, foods lower on the index are more desirable when it comes to sustained brain power. Foods low on the GI include: low-fat yogurt, peanuts, broccoli, peppers, spinach, and whole grain products. One of the simplest breakfast brain foods is whole-wheat toast topped with a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter.

Fish for Brain Influence

There is good news for those who appreciate a big, seafood dinner. A Swedish study has demonstrated that the regular intake of fish products can positively influence cognitive performance. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden surveyed 15 year olds in the western region of the country. The survey included questions about the amount of fish consumption and socioeconomic status. There was a positive correlation between the amount of times fish was consumed each week, and a cognitive performance test taken 3-years later. Those who consumed fish more than once a week had higher combined intelligence, and verbal and visuospatial performance than those who did not.

Not All Fats are Bad Fats

Dieters may shudder when they hear the term “fat content”. However, the truth remains that some fats can benefit you—especially your brain. Evidence is beginning to accumulate demonstrating omega-3 fats’ usefulness for overall brain function. Omega-3s are particularly beneficial for the outer membrane, or synapse, of brain cells. It is here where nerve signals are received, and memories and learning are locked in. Brain cells constantly need to form new cell membranes in order to maintain brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids are best suited to do this. These brainy fats can be found in fish such as salmon and mackerel, nuts, eggs, flax, and milk products.

Bad Diet, Bad Brains

Not only can a diet high in fat and cholesterol destroy your diet and damage your heat, but it can also have a detrimental affect on brain function. Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) have linked memory loss to a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol. According to researchers, instead of aiding brain function, saturated fats and cholesterol inflame brain cell membranes resulting in an impaired memory. So, in the end, limiting bad fats and increasing good fats will not only help you shed unwanted pounds but will also help strengthen your brain power.